Born in India, raised by China: Another Chinese corporate giant jumps in to fund Indian startups

Sandeep Soni

The footprint of Chinese investors in India's leading startups has significantly increased in the past years. Top unicorns in India right from Paytm, Ola to Swiggy, Zomato, Byju's, OYO etc. have been backed by Chinese funds and multinationals including the likes of Alibaba, Ant Financial, Tencent, Didi Chuxing, Fosun, China Lodging Group, and more. Adding to the list is China's financial services major Ping An Group that runs global fintech and health-tech focused growth stage fund Global Voyager Fund that has picked online auto classifieds startup CarDekho as its maiden startup investment in India.

The fund has led $70 million Series D round funding in CarDekho, the company said in a statement. Sunley House Capital Management, a subsidiary of global private equity firm Advent International also participated in the round coupled with existing investors Sequoia India and Hillhouse — another China-based entity. This is the second disclosed funding round by CarDekho this year. The company had announced $110 million funding in January this year. CarDekho, which is backed by Ratan Tata, is reportedly valued between $400-$500 million. However, this ain't first investment by Global Voyager in autotech vertical. The company had earlier backed New York Stock Exchange-listed China's auto portal, Autohome. With the new round of capital, CarDekho's total capital raised stood at $250 million.

Also read: More Chinese money for Indian startups: Alibaba's Ant Financial plans new fund to invest in these areas

China's venture capital funding has increased from $668 million in 2016 to around $3 billion in 2017 and $5.6 billion in 2018, according to Tracxn data. CarDekho will use the fund to boost its transaction businesses and expand outside India as it had recently launched operations in the Philippines by acquiring the country operations of digital car classifieds portal Carmudi. CarDekho had forayed into Indonesia in 2016. The company recently announced its H1 results for FY 20 claiming YoY revenue growth of 92 per cent to $28 million. "With the latest fundraise, we will continue to strengthen our domestic and international businesses and will aggressively work towards becoming the largest personal mobility ecosystem in the country," said Amit Jain, CEO and Co-Founder, CarDekho.

"Auto services are a core component of Ping An's 'finance + ecosystem' strategy, reflected in our majority shareholding in Autohome in China," said Donald Lacey, Managing Director and COO, Ping An Global Voyager Fund. Ant Financial, the fintech arm of China's Alibaba having backed large Indian startups such as Zomato, Paytm etc, is looking to raise around $1-billion fund to back startups in India and Southeast Asia, DealStreetAsia reported last month. To be sure, this comes amid China's economic slowdown and also in investment activity. The Chinese frantic deal-making activity started cooling down in almost the last 12 months with funding level dropping from around $45 billion in Q2 2018 to around $6 billion in Q2 2019, according to KPMG Venture Pulse Q2 2019 report.